Action: Infrastructure in the Amazon

Since 2019, the Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Inesc by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym) has been following the dismantling of socioenvironmental policies accompanied by the intensification of proposals for logistic investments in the Northern region of the country. The“Northern Arch” project (Arco Norte) is supported by the Brazilian government and aims at the economic exploitation of the Amazon’s watersheds, besides building highways and railways through the forest for the exportation of goods and commodities, such as soybeans and corn, to the international market.

The mid-Tapajós, one of the most preserved areas of the Amazon, is being transformed into a platform to export agricultural goods. Particularly the town of Itaituba and the district of Miritituba, in the state of Pará, have been converted into sacrificed areas for the construction of a logistic complex for the outflow of soybeans from Mato Grosso to the ports of Pará and Amapá.

This is the strengthening of a neo-extractivist development model that has resulted in the forest’s destruction, invasion and disaffection of protected areas and violations of the local traditional and peasant communities’s rights. In defense of these territories, a number of fights against such processes of predatory exploitation of both nature and peoples have gained growing force.

In this page, we would like to share with you a series of publications and a web series that aim to document and question this model of the Amazon’s exploitation from different angles, as well as show the processes of resistance that are already in place.

This work has only been possible through the joint efforts of Inesc, alongside social movements, organizations, leaderships, and peoples affected by this process.


Guide 1: Logistics in the Mid-Tapajós: the Itaituba-Miritituba case

Capa Guia ilustradoIn this illustrated guide, we look at the installation of a number of logistic equipments in the district of Miritituba, which has called both national and international attention for having become an important platform for the exportation of grains produced in the Brazilian countryside. The small town of around 15 thousand inhabitants has to live with a daily flow of approximately 1500 trucks during the soybean’s high season while hosting five ports.

We tried to understand who are the agents and what are the interests that, once in the region, have completely transformed the local population’s way of life, forcing the fast adaptation of an agro-village to the dynamics imposed by such logistic entrepreneurship mobilizing massive volumes of goods.

We would like to highlight the presence of ABCDs in the territory, secular companies whose economic activities focus on the circulation of commodities that support global production networks. Even though these companies do not work directly with production, they control all the stages of the production process: they finance, buy, and distribute goods.

While soybeans pass by: impacts of Brazil’s Waterways Company (HDB) in Itaituba 

In this publication we analyze the effects of the ports in the region, paying special attention to Brazil’s Waterways Company (HDB by its Brazilian Portuguese acronym). One of its shareholders is the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private branch of the World Bank Group. The IFC has demanded that Brazil’s Waterways Company follow their protocols for Socioenvironmental Development and Sustainability in order to receive investments. These protocols include a number of necessary measures to prevent, decrease, and mitigate the negative socioenvironmental effects of the company’s work in the region.

However, the dossier shows that the IFC’s apparently strict socioenvironmental policy has not been followed by the HDB. The report produced through complaints from the local population, social movements, indigenous leaderships, among others analyzed each sustainability goal that should have been enforced by the HDB in detail, pointing out issues in the overseeing by the financial institution backing the company’s work.


Web series “Tapajós: a brief history on the transformation of a river”

Cartaz websérie TapajósTapajós: a brief history on the transformation of a river is a web series that takes place in Miritituba, a district in the state of Pará, which has been transformed into a soybean exportation platform in the last years. The animation is composed by three episodes, and each of them is narrated by a local inhabitant. Together they tell stories of an Amazon that goes way beyond the exuberant rain forests and its mighty rivers.

This production came out of the work that Inesc has done on the context of dismantling socioenvironmental policies in the region, and, more specifically, on the Northern Arch project (Arco Norte). This project aims at intensifying the investments on logistics in the Northern region of the country in order to transform Amazon’s watersheds into an exportation corridor for commodities, such as soybeans and corn.

Logistics infrastructure, agribusiness and climate

The article analyzes the resumption of a project for the occupation and development of the Brazilian Amazon, with agribusiness and logistics infrastructure as two of its pillars. This policy brief relates the installation of a multimodal logistics complex in the district of Miritituba, in the state of Pará, to the recent processes of deforestation, fires and land grabbing, in one of the least anthropized regions of the Brazilian Amazon.

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